Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016 — DT 28112

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Daily Telegraph
DT 28112
Publication Date in The Daily Telegraph
Thursday, May 12, 2016
RayT (Ray Terrell)
Link to Full Review
Big Dave's Crossword Blog [DT 28112]
Big Dave's Crossword Blog Review Written By
BD Rating
Difficulty - ★★★ Enjoyment - ★★★★★
Falcon's Experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- reviewed by Falcon for Big Dave's Crossword Blog
- yet to be solved


I always find RayT's puzzles to be a joy and this one is no exception.In fact, in his review at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, pommers awards this puzzle five stars for enjoyment — a rating that I have rarely, if ever, seen in my several years of solving these puzzles.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Big Dave's Crossword Blog, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (&lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-&lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//). Definitions presented in blue text are for terms that appear frequently.


1a   Need to conserve money /showing/ frugality (10)

Tin[5] is a dated informal British term for money ⇒ Kim’s only in it for the tin.

6a   Small sweet // potato (4)

Sweet[5] is a British term for a sweet dish forming a course of a meal; in other words, a pudding or dessert.

Pud[5] is an informal British short form for pudding.

Whereas in North America, the term pudding[5] denotes specifically a dessert with a soft or creamy consistency, in Britain the term pudding[5] refers to either:
  1. [seemingly any] cooked sweet dish served after the main course of a meal; or
  2. the dessert course of a meal ⇒ what’s for pudding?.
Thus the terms dessert, pudding, and sweet would appear to be synonymous in Britain. The response to What’s for pudding? seemingly could be Apple pie.

9a   Precipitate // invasion seizing power (5)

"power" = P (show explanation )

In physics, P[10] is a symbol used to represent power [among other things] in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

10a   Primitive // arrow found by fire, unfinished (9)

12a   Bird/'s/ back in Sun a lot, routinely (7)

The ortolan[5] is a small Eurasian songbird (Emberiza hortulana) that was formerly eaten as a delicacy, the male having an olive-green head and yellow throat.

13a   Basket for catch caught with tackle (5)

I would say that the entire clue here could be considered to be the definition into which the wordplay (marked by a dashed underline) has been embedded.

15a   Forcibly gets // former partner to right wrongs finally (7)

The concensus parsing of the clue is EX (former partner) + TO (from the clue) + RT (right; abbrev.) + S (wrongs finally; final letter of wrongS).

However, the minority opinion was EX (former partner) + (to right ... finally) TORTS ([legal term for] wrongs).

The latter interpretation leads to bit of a "belt and suspenders" situation in which either "to right" or "finally" could indicate on its own that TORTS follows (is to the right of) EX.

16a   Nearly reach canyon/'s/ limit (7)

I had misgivings similar to those of pommers regarding the use of "canyon" in this clue. Despite the fact that he found "canyon" and "pass" as synonyms is his thesaurus, I would hazard to say that they bear about as much resemblance to each other as a mule does to a camel.

18a   Putting stopper in // crack (7)

Crack[5] is an adjective meaning very good or skilful ⇒ (i) he is a crack shot; (ii) crack troops.

Corking[5] is a dated, informal British term meaning very good or excellent ⇒ cars in corking condition.

What are they talking about?
In Comment #15 on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, Beaver wonders whether the solution might have a third meaning, as the term ’corking’ was/is putting a filler/stopper in a crack on a boat.
In his reply, pommers refutes this suggestion by pointing out that the nautical term is spelled "caulking".

The confusion arises because the word "corking", when pronounced in a non-rhotic accent (see explanation at 21a) typical of many parts of Britain, sounds like "cawking" — which also happens to be the way that the word "caulking" is pronounced.

20a   French love following Germany's leader/'s/ allure (7)

The French word for 'love' is amour[8]. Remember that the French typically attach an article to a noun. Thus, for example, the original French title of the song known in English as "Love is Blue" was "L'amour est bleu".

Delving Deeper

"L'amour est bleu"[7] (English title: "Love Is Blue") is a song whose music was composed by André Popp, and whose lyrics were written by Pierre Cour, in 1967. Brian Blackburn later wrote English-language lyrics for it. First performed in French by Greek singer Vicky Leandros (appearing as Vicky) as the Luxembourgian entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1967, it has since been recorded by many other musicians, most notably French orchestra leader Paul Mauriat, whose familiar instrumental version became the only number-one hit by a French artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 in America.

The song describes the pleasure and pain of love in terms of colours (blue and grey) and elements (water and wind). The English lyrics ("Blue, blue, my world is blue …") focus on colours only (blue, grey, red, green, and black), using them to describe elements of lost love.

21a   Animals // creep audibly (5)

In the UK, in addition to meaning a detestable person (a sense familiar to North Americans), the word creep[5]also denotes a person who behaves obsequiously in the hope of advancement.

A fawner[5] is a person who gives a servile display of exaggerated flattery or affection ⇒ (i) the consummate fawner was able to sway a president with false deference.

The word "fawner", when pronounced in a non-rhotic (show explanation ) accent typical of many parts of Britain, sounds like "fawn-ah" — similar to the sound of the word "fauna".

Non-rhotic accents omit the sound < r > in certain situations, while rhotic accents generally pronounce < r > in all contexts. Among the several dozen British English accents which exist, many are non-rhotic while American English (US and Canadian) is mainly rhotic. This is, however, a generalisation, as there are areas of Britain that are rhotic, and areas of America that are non-rhotic. For more information, see this guide to pronouncing < r > in British English.

hide explanation

23a   Cracking // Queen finale (7)

"queen" = R (show explanation )

Queen may be abbreviated as Q, Qu. or R.

Q[5] is an abbreviation for queen that is used especially in describing play in card games and recording moves in chess.

Qu.[2] is another common abbreviation for Queen.

Regina[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for queen] denotes the reigning queen, used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, Queen Elizabeth) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Regina v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones).

Thus Queen Elizabeth signs her name as 'Elizabeth R' as seen here on Canada's paint-stained constitution.

hide explanation

Here is another instance where I would question whether the solution is synonymous with the definition. "Crack" and "rend" both mean to create a split but I can think of no instance where the words could be used interchangeably. One would crack a pane of glass or rend a piece of cloth but never the other way around.

25a   European bank reversed charge, /creating/ stress (9)

26a   Especially lucky individuals, terribly exclusive at first (5)

I would definitely extend the definition to include more of the clue than pommers has shown. In fact, I might even be persuaded to declare the entire clue to be the definition.

27a   Embracing sweetheart the man would // notice (4)

"sweetheart" = E (show explanation )

A common cryptic crossword construct is to use the word "sweetheart" to clue E, the middle letter (heart) of swEet.

hide explanation

28a   Light, with hourglass figures, including the French (10)

"Hourglass figures" are numbers (figures) that are shaped like an hourglass.

"the French" = LES (show explanation )

In French, the plural form of the definite article is les[8].

hide explanation


1d   Piece of sacred // land? (4)

At Comment #7, crypticsue suggests that this clue might also be interpreted as an &lit. (all-in-one) clue:
  • Piece of sacred land? (4)
Under this interpretation, the definition would be the entire clue, pointing to the city of Acre[5] (an industrial seaport of Israel) in the Holy Land and the wordplay would be hidden in (piece of) 'sACREd land'.

I have seen instances where a solution has been hidden in only a portion of a well-known phrase. However, unlike "Holy Land", I'm not convinced that I would consider "sacred land" to qualify as such.

2d   Stand // a couple of drinks (9)

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle. As a noun, sup[5] means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

Porter[5] is a dark brown bitter beer brewed from malt partly charred or browned by drying at a high temperature (originally made as a drink for porters).

3d   Comically entertained? I'm // not sure (13)

4d   Preserves /made by/ English doctor with charity help (7)

"doctor" = MB (show explanation )

In Britain, the degree required to practice medicine is a Bachelor of Medicine[7] (MB, from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus), which is equivalent to a North American Doctor of Medicine (MD, from Latin Medicinae Doctor). The degree of Doctor of Medicine also exists in Britain, but it is an advanced degree pursued by those who wish to go into medical research. Physicians in Britain are still addressed as Dr. despite not having a doctoral degree. 

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5d   Zero resistance put up in elegant // pants (7)

"resistance" = R (show explanation )

In physics, R[5] is a symbol used to represent electrical resistance in mathematical formulae.

hide explanation

Pants[5] is an informal British term meaning rubbish or nonsense ⇒ he thought we were going to be absolute pants.

Chronic[5] is an informal British term meaning of a very poor quality ⇒ the film was absolutely chronic.

Scratching the Surface
In Britain, the word pants[5] does not mean trousers. Rather, it refers to underwear — specifically men's undershorts or women's panties (the latter otherwise known as knickers to the Brits). Thus if I were to take off my pants in the UK, I would be far more exposed than if I were to do so in North America!

7d   Examine // end of zip on dress (5)

8d   Club certain to accommodate large // outing (10)

11d   Backing // account, criticise one in remark (13)

14d   The French corruptly taking over // from now on (10)

"over" = O (show explanation )

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation O[5] denotes over(s), an over[5] being a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

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17d   Next to // godliness, practically converted by American initially (9)

19d   Refuse // starter with breakfast in service station (7)

Scratching the Surface
Starter[5] is a chiefly British term [according to Oxford Dictionaries, but certainly a term that is by no means foreign to Canada] meaning the first course of a meal.

20d   Herbal remedy /gives/ new endless drive in performance (7)

Ginseng[5] is a plant tuber credited with various tonic and medicinal properties.

22d   Posh evening reported /for/ couple (5)

As a definition, "couple" is a verb.

"posh" = U (show explanation )

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes ⇒ U manners.

The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956).

In Crosswordland, the letter U is frequently clued by words denoting "characteristic of the upper class" (such as posh or superior) or "appropriate to the upper class" (such as acceptable). 

hide explanation

24d   Charges // iron elements' external points (4)

The symbol for the chemical element iron is Fe[5] (from Latin ferrum).
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon

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